Russia=Amazing!

It’s the beginning of my first official day in Russia! I still can’t believe I’m here and I wonder how many days I’ll be saying that. Will the novelty and excitement wear off? At the moment it seems impossible but I’m sure there will be a point when, unfortunately, everything will seem commonplace.
I keep thinking back to London and trying to compare the two cities. I feel torn between them because there was a part of me that felt sad for a moment because I’d accepted my internship in Russia. I felt sad that that was one year I wouldn’t be able to spend in London. But now that I’m in Russia I never want to leave. And, to be honest, London wasn’t exactly culture shock…granted, I was there for only two days, but I know that in all reality it’s not the best place to travel if I’m looking for an experience abroad in a place that will be vastly different than the one I’m used to. As strange as it may seem, I can’t wait to experience culture shock and go through everything that comes from being abroad and living in another culture.

I’ve already experienced the first minor hiccup. I can’t seem to figure out how to call our guide and meet up to get our registration taken care of. My phone won’t call out and I went down to the front desk to ask if they had a phone and they said they don’t have a phone. So now maybe I need to find a pay phone. I know it’s not a huge problem but it’s so strange how it feels when such a simple thing makes you feel like you have your hands tied behind your back. If I were in America I would have the problem solved in no time. But here I feel stuck, as if my only option is to wait for something to happen or to run around, knocking into obstacles until I accidentally stumble upon a solution. It’s all so very interesting…

Wow, what a difference a day can make! After the phone problem was solved we went out into the city and I can honestly say that I think I’m in love with Russia. I love the Russian language and I love seeing the Russian signs everywhere and hearing people speak the language. I’m amazed that I can understand them and speak with them, and even more so that they actually understand me. The opportunity to be out in the city, communicating with other Russians and feel a part of it all is amazing. Then I met one of our guide’s friends. She came to Russia not knowing any Russian and took Russian classes which were given only in Russian. She told me how she had to learn by translating from English (her second language) to Russian (her third language). Can you imagine? She said that she also cried a lot during her first year because people couldn’t understand her. But now she sounds so fluent! It definitely gives me hope that one day I can speak and understand Russian really well. On another note, because it’s summer we’re getting to see the White Nights. It’s so strange but oh so beautiful. It’s perfectly light out even though it’s almost 11.00 at night. By seeing light my mind and body are tricked into believing it’s earlier than it really is and so I’m not tired at all. But it’s still early and I don’t know if it’s jet lag, the White Nights or maybe a little bit of both.

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